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Matt Sydal

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I nominated him so I probably should say why. Really, a lot of it was influenced by Noble being nominated and I was already flirting with nominating him. Plenty of guys from this era that have been nominated that I think he is certainly better than especially among high flyers.

 

Sydal on his own will probably end up flirting with the bottom quarter of my list if he makes it at all. Still a ton to watch but right now he's in the mix. Excellent flyer. Has a jaw dropping shooting star press and does well at not spamming moves compared to a lot of indie talents. I would like to see him in longer matches but heck, you can look at WSX for super short super nutty matches that have little more value than that or some of his tag matches with Styles that I think are really friggin' good for that style. His WWE run has good stuff in ECW. Watched a match of his against Paul Burchill and he is an ELITE seller in that. From the little I remember, Air Boom was a fun flying babyface team. He's a fantastic babyface who does all the things you want from a face well.

 

He has quite a few knocks for a GREATEST EVER debate with a lack of big matches probably being the biggest. Also he is only 31 with WWE eating a chunk of his career that could have been used to add to his resume.

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He's a good wrestler, but I don't think I would put him close to the top 100 all time. Top 100 within the last 10 years I can see, but not all time.

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Forgotten ROH tag team work with not only AJ Styles, but also the veteran/young boy team with Christopher Daniels.

 

His best run, although hardly featured as a single, may have been Dragon Gate 2006-2007.

 

I'd love to see his OVW stuff. I believe he was champion for a time before the call up.

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He's one of the best bumpers I've seen. Him rag dolling for everyone when he was in ECW was like watching a completely different guy than the guy I saw on the indy circuit, and he had himself some good moments there, too.

 

I'm not sure he has enough to put him on a list like this, but I'll consider him one of the better indy guys..

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Also he is only 31 with WWE eating a chunk of his career that could have been used to add to his resume.

I haven't seen much of his indy work but I don't think I could agree with this statement. People might think this is crazy but his work on ECW has him as an all time babyface worker in my opinion. I realize there are plenty of guys with deeper bodies of work but the way he could sell and bump was as good as anyone I've ever seen. I can't remember anyone else in WWE who would sometimes have their match end without their opponent hitting their finisher, and just have them take a really nasty looking bump to end the match instead.

 

He also had some great looking offense with obviously the Shooting Star Press but he did a lot of good looking strikes based around kicks and knees that I thought helped him look credible against bigger opponents. I think it's unfortunate that he ended getting that ankle injury not too long after his debut because it seemed like they were ready to do something with him after he won the voting at Cyber Sunday 2008. After that he ended up on Raw and then got into trouble because he didn't want to stop smoking weed.

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Should have been a major star and the spectacular, good looking, exciting white meat babyface of his era. Great at selling, incredible athleticism, spectacular offense and a brilliant bumper. Always knew how to time his comebacks and pace his matches. Connected with the crowd.

 

A tragedy that he didn't become the heir to Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy as the WWE main event flyer. His ROH match with Jimmy Rave in 2005 was as close to Rey vs Eddie as you can get working that type of match.

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So, I have a personal goal to give a comment discussing every wrestler I have in a top 100 spot at any time during this project, and I want to bump up an old thread that nobody has put any discussion into in a long time. This one hasn’t been posted in since December 2014, so I’d say Sydal 100% applies.

 

Matt Sydal is a fascinating case because there are some metrics he does shockingly well in. First is Longevity. Sydal first “great” matches In aware of are his rivalry wi the AJ Styles al the way back in 04, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some stuff with Delirious in 03 that would be worth mentioning. It’s 2022, and he’s still very clearly good now, and I’ve never watched Sydal work a long stretch he wouldn’t meet the term “good” for me. 18 years is a long time to be a quality wrestler, and I don’t think he’s slowing down.

He also scores points on a couple other key metrics for me: he’s a really strong seller, a big bumper, and his best high spots remain very impressive, even 20 years into his career. In theory, all these factors should put him in the running as one of the best babyfaces of his generation.

 

So….. why does he always make me feel kind of empty in discussion for the GWE? I said I’d write up anyone who was in a spot in my top 100 at any time. Well, right now Sydal is my 99, sliding between The Rock and Fidel Sierra. And I still have literally hundreds more candidates I need to watch. Barring an outstanding over 40 run (which is kind of possible I suppose), Sydal has 0 chance of actually finishing in my top 100 in spite of a long career of quality work. 
 

Largely, I think this comes down to one major flaw in Sydal that comes up to me when I watch him. The dude is just not charismatic. And before anyone says that shouldn’t matter in a list like this, in ring charisma absolutely matters. Sydal seems to contain all the tools of a great underdog babyface, but for some reason I’ve never actively found him sympathetic in matches. He lacks that personality that sucks you in. I’ve honestly thought charisma wise he plays better as a heel, but he just has the most babyface skill set imaginable, and it just leads to it not tracking as a complete competitor. And while I’m not really a great match guy, god, doesn’t it feel like someone with as many tools as Sydal has should have a few matches to really hang his hat on? Because while he has a lot of good stuff, he rarely seemed to truest hit great.

As a comparison, Sydal kind of felt like a guy who would get compared to Paul London in RoH. Both natural babyface skill sets, both big bumpers with cool high spots, both at there best working from underneath. But why is it that Paul London in 9 months in RoH had more truely memorable, special performances in 12 months in RoH then I can come up with for Matt Sydal in a 20 year career? 

As stated, Sydal is currently my 99. I expect he will end up in my top 200, but probably in the bottom 25. 

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11 hours ago, El Dragon said:

So, I have a personal goal to give a comment discussing every wrestler I have in a top 100 spot at any time during this project, and I want to bump up an old thread that nobody has put any discussion into in a long time. This one hasn’t been posted in since December 2014, so I’d say Sydal 100% applies.

 

Matt Sydal is a fascinating case because there are some metrics he does shockingly well in. First is Longevity. Sydal first “great” matches In aware of are his rivalry wi the AJ Styles al the way back in 04, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some stuff with Delirious in 03 that would be worth mentioning. It’s 2022, and he’s still very clearly good now, and I’ve never watched Sydal work a long stretch he wouldn’t meet the term “good” for me. 18 years is a long time to be a quality wrestler, and I don’t think he’s slowing down.

He also scores points on a couple other key metrics for me: he’s a really strong seller, a big bumper, and his best high spots remain very impressive, even 20 years into his career. In theory, all these factors should put him in the running as one of the best babyfaces of his generation.

 

So….. why does he always make me feel kind of empty in discussion for the GWE? I said I’d write up anyone who was in a spot in my top 100 at any time. Well, right now Sydal is my 99, sliding between The Rock and Fidel Sierra. And I still have literally hundreds more candidates I need to watch. Barring an outstanding over 40 run (which is kind of possible I suppose), Sydal has 0 chance of actually finishing in my top 100 in spite of a long career of quality work. 
 

Largely, I think this comes down to one major flaw in Sydal that comes up to me when I watch him. The dude is just not charismatic. And before anyone says that shouldn’t matter in a list like this, in ring charisma absolutely matters. Sydal seems to contain all the tools of a great underdog babyface, but for some reason I’ve never actively found him sympathetic in matches. He lacks that personality that sucks you in. I’ve honestly thought charisma wise he plays better as a heel, but he just has the most babyface skill set imaginable, and it just leads to it not tracking as a complete competitor. And while I’m not really a great match guy, god, doesn’t it feel like someone with as many tools as Sydal has should have a few matches to really hang his hat on? Because while he has a lot of good stuff, he rarely seemed to truest hit great.

As a comparison, Sydal kind of felt like a guy who would get compared to Paul London in RoH. Both natural babyface skill sets, both big bumpers with cool high spots, both at there best working from underneath. But why is it that Paul London in 9 months in RoH had more truely memorable, special performances in 12 months in RoH then I can come up with for Matt Sydal in a 20 year career? 

As stated, Sydal is currently my 99. I expect he will end up in my top 200, but probably in the bottom 25. 

This is a really interesting point to make. I know some people will have their own preferences for how they rank wrestlers and whatnot, but charisma is always going to play a factor in selection for the vast majority of people given how incredibly important it is. It's not just promos or character work; it's also getting people invested in what you can do in-ring and how capable someone can be in storytelling a narrative throughout. With a guy like Sydal, I felt like he was always a gatekeeper: great hand, can consistently give out good work in a number of different areas, but ultimately can't really do anything beyond that. He's kinda like a cruiserweight Ziggler where all the pieces should come together, but they really never do.  

We can moan about guys like Hogan all day and night for dozens of reasons, but his ability to make you pay attention to him in-ring and be more memorable means that the vast majority of people can cite his top matches off the cuff despite his limitations, because he can get investment out of his work. Doing big bumps is one thing, but making them MATTER is another. Rey would take big bumps but he'd sell his ass off and his comebacks were almost always timed perfectly to get the crowd worked up. As you say, Sydal just kinda doesn't have that inviting factor in if that makes any sense

 

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3 hours ago, Ma Stump Puller said:

We can moan about guys like Hogan all day and night for dozens of reasons, but his ability to make you pay attention to him in-ring and be more memorable means that the vast majority of people can cite his top matches off the cuff despite his limitations, because he can get investment out of his work.

In truth, the vast majority of people can cite his top matches because he was the top star of the top promotion during a time where there was about 4 big matches a year. Whatever one might think of Hogan as a worker (I think he's on average pretty good, sometimes worst, sometime better), let's not confuse his abilities and the quality of his in-ring work with his excessively dominant social spot on the pro-wrestling landscape in a specific context where "good wrestling" as it was *already* understood back then (Savage, Steamboat, Santana, the workrate guys of the days) meant jackshit compared to 30 years later in term of acquiring such a dominant spot (right now, even in WWE, there's an expected level of what is perceived as "very good in-ring worker" to main event Mania, I'm not the biggest Roman Reigns fan but let's be real, he's miles above Hogan as a worker, so was John Cena).

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1 hour ago, elliott said:

Hogan was a great worker and had way more than 4 big matches in a year but let's not let reality get in the way. 

Well, your first point, well, we can agree to disagree that he was a great worker, ok ? "Reality" has nothing to do with this.

Your second point, well, are you gonna argue that there was not a dozen PPV main events and a shitload of important TV matches back then ? There were 4 PPV from 1988 and on. Sure, there was those Saturday Nights Main Events shows dating back from 85, but I doubt most of Hogan's most remembered and top matches (those the "vast majority of people can cite off the cuff") happened during those TV shows, which still were mostly TV commercials for house shows. Are we gonna argue that Hulk Hogan has had as much "big matches" as pretty much everyone past the Raw/Nitro era ? Really want to compare the numbers of "big matches" Hogan had compared to a John Cena or a Roman Reigns ? Talking about letting reality in the way really is a pretty bad argument here, if I may say so...

The reasons why people remember Hogan's matches so much is the one I mentioned before, and the other one is that most people still talking about it were kids/teenagers when it happened, therefore they remember much more vividly whatever happened during this period that anything past their 20's. Fuck I remember Mike Sharpe vs SD Jones matches from WWF Superstars from 90, and it's not because they were any good. That's not something to be ignored, although of course everyone want to ignore it because it plays into "their favors", as in the favors of their own experience. I know for a fact that the French WWE audience that exists today considers 00's WWE as the golden age, and probably remembers WAY more about it than the average current US WWE fan, all because of the context (this is when WWE got hot on TV, mostly thanks to the announcing team of Agius and Chereau). And they probably can quote shitloads of Cena, Orton and Edge matches too by heart.

But if the social spots of the workers, context of productions of matches, conditions of receptions and perceptions are to be ignored, well, whatever. Pro-wrestling doesn't happen in a vacuum and not everything is equivalent. To me those elements being ignored is what clouds the judgement, always in favors of mostly dominant figures. And don't get me started on "charisma", which is such a tricky concept to begin with.

But anyway, this discussion has nothing to do with poor Matt Sydal. Nor with Hogan as a worker either actually (like I said, pretty good). So I guess sorry for going off-topic. If anyone wanna pimp some Matt Sydal, please do. I doubt he has a shot at my list, but then again.

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Big matches existed before PPV. Big matches exist outside of TV. 

The Big Event wasnt a PPV. WrestleMania 1 wasnt a PPV

Guess those shouldn't count? 

Those literal dozens of matches in MSG, Philly, Boston, LA, Detroit etc are big matches. 

You're really going to argue that "pretty much everyone in the RAW/Nitro era" (your words)  has more big matches than Hulk Hogan? 

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7 hours ago, elliott said:

Big matches existed before PPV. Big matches exist outside of TV. 

The Big Event wasnt a PPV. WrestleMania 1 wasnt a PPV

Guess those shouldn't count? 

When did I say big matches did not exist before PPV ? As far as big matches on house shows, sorry, but I'm pretty sure none of them are what was referred to as "matches that *everybody* can cite off the cuff", which is what I'm talking about. Mania 1 not being a PPV is cute as hell in term of ridiculous nitpicking.

7 hours ago, elliott said:

You're really going to argue that "pretty much everyone in the RAW/Nitro era" (your words)  has more big matches than Hulk Hogan? 

Is that even debatable that John Cena and Roman Reigns (by everyone I meant every top guy, which is why I detailed it into Cena and Reigns in the *very next sentence*, but I guess my fault for not being specific enough from the very first sentence), to take two guys who have occupied pretty much the same social spot as Hogan in the WWE (long tenure on top as super dominant figures, Austin and Rock were a bit different in term of booking), have way, WAY more big matches that have been presented to the audience on TV and PPV than Hogan had during his peak (that's discounting most of his WCW stuff, as again I don't think any of them apart from a few exceptions were the ones being referred too, Hogan vs Rock being another exception in term of belonging in a later context when things already got different, that's also after Hogan's peak) ? I mean, come on now. There have been competitive main events on weekly TV for almost 25 years now + 12 PPV a year. Hogan had a token of big PPV matches and a few Saturday Nights Main Event (more or less, because Mania 1 wasn't a PPV, although I doubt anyone would push the Mania main event as a great Hogan match anyway). The business model was different then and it absolutely plays a part in how matches were perceived. It's ridiculous to even argue against the fact a fan who's seen about , say 15 big Hogan matches during his teenage years won't remind them better than someone who has seen, I dunno, a hundred John Cena matches during the same time span.

3 hours ago, Tetsujin said:

Them being good is just another thing, though.

It is, and I did not even talk about their supposed quality or lack thereof, as it wasn't even a point I was making. What a waste of time, really, to have to explain that Hogan had less big matches than Cena or Reigns, which obviously plays a part in how they are remembered, especially by people who have seen it when their brain was younger. :rolleyes: Oh well...  Anyway, this is totally off-topic and probably should be moved to the Hogan thread. Isn't Hogan cancelled anyway at this point ? :D

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7 hours ago, elliott said:

You're really going to argue that "pretty much everyone in the RAW/Nitro era" (your words)  has more big matches than Hulk Hogan? 

It doesn't seem all that controversial to say that wrestlers from and since that era have had more big matches than Hogan.  Perhaps there's an argument for the last few years where the company became the top pushed headliner and house shows disappeared due to COVID.  Hogan's likely had more weight and importance due to their scarcity, but based on pure count there are many with more than him.

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